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Spiritual Exercises – Week 4

san juan cap olive press

The Seven Capital Sins are the topics for meditation during the Spiritual Exercises – Week 4. The capital sins are character defects that often lead to mortal sin so study of them and flushing them out helps us become more peaceful and loving people.


The first meditation, on Greed, was very striking. Not only materialism but spiritual greed. Am I using the Exercises for the right reasons or just to feel good in my prayer life? Minimalism in material possessions is a thing now. A good thing for most of us. We become slaves to our possessions. A lack of generosity to the poor and homeless. The storing up of money for wealth’s sake. Is wealth bad? No. But it does come with a moral responsibility.

So what is this Greed in my spiritual life? Do I use the Exercises, the Sacraments, prayer, and the abundance of spiritual gifts of my Catholic faith to become a better servant of the King? Or am I looking for that pink cloud to float on? Will I work through the dryness of desolation in order to help others navigate the difficulties and injustices of this life? Or am I just looking for a ticket to heaven? And that is just a bit of meditation upon greed. The other six capital sins are: gluttony, lust, envy, anger, pride, and sloth. It’s going to be a fun week.

Fr. Broom: radical traditionalist

Father Ed Broom is a very interesting character. I would call him a radical traditionalist. Not sure I agree with all of his statements but certainly his ideals. He is a very old-school Baltimore Catechism Catholic. No gray areas. But I am keeping an open mind and trying to glean what I can to improve my own spiritual life and pass some insights on to others.

It is not that I don’t agree with the dogma and the doctrine.  I am Catholic. I accept church teachings. I have practiced my faith long enough to realize that just because I don’t agree with a particular dogma or doctrine does not make me right. It means that I need more information on the church’s perspective and reasoning behind it. I have changed my mind about several issues because of this and because of further study outside the church. But that belongs in another post.


Though I did the Spiritual Exercises last year, posting on the Capital Sins now is timely, as just prior to Lent this year I once again completed a series of meditations on the capital sins during my holy hours. This time I found that a different issue had been uncovered to replace the one I suffered with when I was taking the exercises. This is one reason I find it so important to continue meditations on the reality of sin. It is like peeling the layers of an onion. You get one all the way off and find another hiding underneath. Do we ever get to the end of the onion? Not in this life.

Self-knowledge is critical to our happiness. When we can admit to ourselves and one other person our shortcomings (confession), they do not have to eat away at us in secret. We can receive our confessor’s objective input – as the Holy Spirit speaking whether offering constructive advice or instructive amends – and forgiveness. Hopefully forgiveness relieves anxiety. We get back up and try again.

I don’t think I have to worry about running out of imperfections to work on. But in working on them, continuing to study the Capital Sins, I hope to avoid committing worse sins, especially mortal sins.

If you are near Hawaiian Gardens, CA sign up for the next session of the Spiritual Exercises with Fr. Ed Broom, OMV at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church.


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